Three Maritime Services apprentices have been shortlisted for Apprentice of the Year at this year’s News Business Excellence Awards in Portsmouth. Matt Gordon, Head of Early Careers and Skills, tells us why they’ve been shortlisted.
One of the biggest milestones in the Portsmouth calendar last year was the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth. It was the culmination of years of planning, not only to get Portsmouth Naval Base ready for her arrival, but to also find new ways to support such a unique vessel. Our apprentices have played key roles in this, and continue to do so.
Abbi, who’s now finished her Higher Engineering Apprenticeship, played an essential part in shaping the way BAE Systems’ engineers support the two aircraft carriers.
She successfully co-authored a research paper on using Virtual Reality to develop training packages for the ship staff. This was nominated for the Sir Donald Gosling Award, published and presented at the International Naval Engineering Conference, and since then has been cited in a subsequent research paper.
In fact, the research was so successful, and the VR training so useful, that the business is now looking into ways to extend the training to other new classes of ship.
Higher Engineering Apprentice Dan has also been innovative in implementing new ways of working.
For his previous placement, Dan joined the Waterfront Support Team which, it’s safe to say, took him out of his comfort zone. Here, he and the team worked on the Long Range Radar, which is used on the Royal Navy’s Type 45 warships and Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.
It’s crucial that the radars are maintained to the highest level. By introducing one central process to record information about the different units in use and the maintenance they require, Dan helped the team become more efficient and cost effective, essentially reducing the chance of a job being carried out twice.
BAE Systems supports all Portsmouth-based warships, and this often requires learning additional skills. Ben has been proactive throughout his Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship, demonstrating a willingness to learn, taking on additional courses in first aid, specialist equipment, tools and software.
Thanks to Ben’s efforts, the business is benefitting from a more versatile workforce and his new skills allow him to take on extra tasks himself, reducing the possibility of delay.
He is now working as a mechanical fitter supporting the Royal Navy’s fleet and has started studying for a Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering.
Each of these apprentices has gone above and beyond in their roles and has been recognised internally through various awards, but it is fantastic for our local community to acknowledge the capability and achievements of our future workforce at Portsmouth Naval Base.